It’s the holiday season, and with great company comes even greater food. During this season of giving, I wanted to share my top three favorite dishes to make during the holidays. Whether it be for a large party, or an intimate family gathering, I know these dishes are always going to be a hit!
With two unique appetizers, and my favorite traditional side dish, I hope you can enjoy at least one of these amazing holiday foods.
Note: An asterisk (*) indicated that an ingredient is available from a local farmer or food entrepreneur at Countryside Old Trail School Winter Farmers’ Market.
Cranberry Brie Bites
- 1 (8-oz.) tube crescent dough
- Cooking spray, for pan
- Flour, for surface
- 1 (8-oz.) wheel of brie
- 1/2 c. whole berry cranberry sauce*
- 1/4 c. chopped pecans
- 6 sprigs of rosemary*, cut into 1″ pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 375° and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough, and pinch together seams. Cut into 24 squares. Place squares into muffin tin slots.
- Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough. Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, some chopped pecans, and one little sprig of rosemary.
- Bake until the crescent pastry is golden, about 15 minutes
(Note: What’s so great about this dish is how versatile it can be! Consider swapping the cranberry for other preserves like apricot, and the cheese can be swapped to any kind you like!)
Modern Green Bean Casserole
Crispy Shallot Topping:
- 5 shallots*, very thinly sliced
- Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- Kosher salt
Green Bean Casserole:
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 pounds haricots verts or thin green beans, ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering the casserole
- 1 pound mushrooms* (any kind of mushrooms, button, cremini, wild, whatever you like), wiped clean and roughly chopped
- 3 shallots*, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Fresh parsley or chervil, to garnish, optional (dried herb options are available at the farmers’ market)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- For the crispy shallot topping: Line a plate with paper towels. Put the shallots in a small saucepan and pour in canola or vegetable oil to cover. Put the pan on the stove, turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots turn a medium brown, about 4 minutes. Drain them in a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the oil for another use, then turn the shallots onto the paper-lined plate and blot with another paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
- For the green bean casserole: Fill a large bowl with water and some ice. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Plunge the green beans into the boiling water and cook just until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, then plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
- Butter a shallow 3-quart casserole and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until browned and any liquid they have released has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add the minced shallots and sauté until slightly softened, another 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and continue to saute until the flour coats the mushrooms well and turns golden, another 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the broth while stirring. Stir in the half-and-half and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has thickened. Add the partially cooked green beans, then turn the mixture into the prepared casserole.
- Bake until hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle over the reserved crispy shallots and bake until the shallots are hot and re-crisped, about 5 more minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley or chervil if desired and serve hot.
Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
- 6 ounces creamy goat cheese
- 24 plump Medjool dates (regular dates are fine as well!)
- 12 slices thinly sliced bacon*, cut in half
- 1/3 cup honey*
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary*
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper using more or less to taste
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Candied or toasted walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Split the dates in half lengthwise, but don’t cut the date all the way through. Remove the pit and discard. Stuff each date with goat cheese, then gently squeeze to seal. Wrap each date with bacon and place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dates.
- In a small bowl, combine the honey, rosemary, cayenne, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Evenly drizzle 1/2 the honey over the dates. The goal is to coat the bacon in honey so that it caramelizes in the oven.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bacon is crisping. Serve warm or room temperature with any remaining honey and walnuts, if desired.
I hope that some of these recipes are able to bring you the same warm, joyful feeling that they bring me and my family during the holidays.
Still finishing up your holiday shopping? Consider attending the Countryside Old Trail School Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, December 18th from 9am – 12pm for our holiday celebration! Special activities will include pictures with Santa, an ugly sweater contest, a chef-led cooking demo by Chef Lloyd Foust (preparing a Kale and Green Cabbage Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette), fresh pierogis from The Pierogi Lady, live music, and more.